The Clearest Mirror: Reflections on Black Adventist History

Inspired by Carter G. Woodson, whose life goal was to make black history widely known, in the spring of 2010, I launched, a website with the express aim of publicizing, promoting, and informing on black Seventh-day Adventist history by providing free information and materials. A complimentary YouTube channel was created shortly after.1 Although was founded while I was a doctoral student (that is to say, somewhat impoverished), I never asked or accepted any donations for it. This is not meritorious; it is just something that I strongly believe in and enjoy doing. The only website of its kind, both the main site and the YouTube channel have enjoyed a gratifying amount of success. Allow me to elaborate my reasons for the need for projects like this that are concerned with making black Adventist history known.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

“In conclusion, the study of black Adventist history by all Adventists will move us toward a meaningful unity; enable us to identify with the sufferings of our brothers and sisters; give us a sophisticated understanding of God in our past; instill in us a humility that triumphalism simply cannot bring; inspire us to overcome the multifarious forces opposed to us; give us understanding of where we are today; and impart clarity for the future, which is fraught with the same challenges of the past.”

If only this statement were to come true. Brother Baker has set a high bar for the church in this last paragraph of his well written historical overview of race relations in the Adventist church. In matters of race the progress has been very slow when it comes to learning from our history.
While we may be skeptical about learning from the past in our youth, there is no doubt that we try to do it all the time. We constantly tell stories about the past to our students, friends, children—and to ourselves—stories that are supposed to convey moral and practical lessons about how to behave with persons from other races. Again and again, our political leaders use the past to warn, admonish, and inspire the public; to criticize their opponents; and to justify their own policies. Historical analogies, comparisons, and metaphors are all around us; they are a source of collective wisdom on which we must rely. The valuable insight and information in this article by Mr. Baker needs to be shared and studied as we tell the story of our church. It is unlikely that we could a true history without them even if we wanted to. We need to emphasize the stories that are still developing in the area of race relations.

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” —Mark Twain

“We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” ― Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel